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Recruiting: RB Mahone commits to Notre Dame

Allan Joseph | Thursday, October 6, 2011

While Cierre Wood showed off the present-day Irish ground game last Saturday, Notre Dame took a big step in securing the future of the running game when Ohio running back Will Mahone committed to Notre Dame, Irish recruiting expert Mike Frank said.

“I think it’s a huge get,” said Frank, who runs the ESPN affiliate Irish Sports Daily. “Notre Dame really needed … a bunch of running backs, but they also need kind of a bigger back.

“Will Mahone’s actually a very fast player, he’s got very good speed, but he’s also more of a power play. He can run inside the player, and he can run some people over.”

Frank said Mahone’s commitment allows the Irish to focus on finding a more elusive running back to complement Mahone’s power.

“Now they’ll be able to focus on other types of backs, more of the speedy guys that can hit the home run,” Frank said. “[They’re looking at] a guy like [North Carolina running back] Keith Marshall or [California running back] Byron Mashall. One of those types of players is more of a shifty player, more explosive, more of a Cierre Wood-type running back.”

In fact, Mahone has already become an asset on the recruiting trail. Shortly after he committed to Notre Dame, Mahone took to Twitter to attempt to convince Keith Marshall to join him in South Bend. Frank said that while many observers see Keith Marshall going to Georgia, the Irish still have a real shot at getting the explosive back to commit.

“He’s got a strong interest in Notre Dame,” Frank said. “It’s all going to come down to his visit … He’s real familiar with [Georgia], he’s been down there a number of times, he’s real comfortable with the coaching staff. He’ll have a good chance to play early there as well. We’ll see how that all plays out. He’s never been to Notre Dame, so it will be interesting to see his thoughts on Notre Dame.”

As the Irish return home for the first time in three weeks, they will host Florida athlete Nelson Agholor on a visit. Agholor plays a number of positions, including cornerback, receiver, running back and safety. Agholor’s tangible traits and his versatility make him highly valuable, Frank said.

“He is a tremendous talent. I think he is one of the top 10 players in the entire country,” Frank said. “He’s a bigger kid. He’s got great speed. He’s an extremely explosive player, and he’s exactly what Notre Dame is missing. They have some fast players on their squad right now, but he’s an extremely explosive player.”

If Agholor commits to the Irish, Frank expects him to have an immediate impact on the offensive side of the ball.

“This is a five-star talent. If he comes to Notre Dame, I would guess he would challenge immediately for playing time,” Frank said. “He brings something that nobody else on the squad or this class has. That’s no disrespect to the other guys … he’s just very elusive and very explosive. So this is your Rocket Ismail type of player. Notre Dame has been lacking those types of players for awhile.”

Virginia safety C.J. Prosise will also take his official visit to campus this weekend, though he has already committed to the Irish. Frank said that while Prosise may not be nationally known, he is one of the hidden talents of the Notre Dame class.

“He’s a tremendous prospect. He’s a bigger kid, and he can really run,” Frank said. “He’s one of the kids that sometimes gets pushed under the radar on the national level, but around that area … all those schools wanted him badly and offered him. He’s a really, really good prospect. I think he’s one of those guys that may come in with a little less fanfare than some of the others, but I think he’s a guy that will really surprise people.”

While this week is important for the Irish, Frank could not help but look ahead two weeks, to Notre Dame’s matchup against USC.

“The motherlode of talent is coming in for official and unofficial visits,” Frank said. “It’s probably Notre Dame’s biggest recruiting weekend I could ever remember. I’ve never seen this much talent come in in one weekend.”

For more on Notre Dame recruiting, check out Mike Frank’s irishsportsdaily.com. Email Mike at [email protected] and tell him The Observer sent you.